BY DIAMOND HOLTON
The University of Mary Washington women’s soccer team advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference semifinals, 3-2, in a penalty shootout against Salisbury University at SU Soccer Complex Saturday afternoon.
The Sea Gulls (12-4-2) and the Eagles (9-8-2) both played a hard defensive game throughout the entire matchup keeping shots to a minimum. Their defense was good enough to force two overtimes that led to penalty kicks.
In the first overtime, Salisbury continued to try and push the ball forward as not even a minute in the Sea Gulls had a corner kick. Off the corner, sophomore Rachel Anderson had two opportunities to get the ball in but Mary Washington’s freshman goalie Haley Randall blocked them both.
Junior Maryfay Jackson got the pass from her teammate giving her enough room where it was just her against sophomore goalkeeper Alesha Seifert. Seifert kept her calm and saved the shot, keeping Salisbury in the game.
“I knew that I was going to make the save and after that I realized that we were going to go into PKs,” Seifert said. “I knew our team was going to finish it going as strong as they could.”
Junior Jenny Gavigan got off two shots, one being blocked and the other wide left before heading into the second overtime.
There was only one shot attempt in the second overtime by the Eagles. Freshman Kaitlyn Higgins found some leeway to make her shot but it hit the post. Some slight frustration from senior Victoria Luc caused her to get a yellow card that she didn’t agree with.
With the game still tied, the game advanced to a shootout with the Sea Gulls going first. Senior Jenna DeLetto stepped up kicking to the left side of the box, but Randall was there for the block.
The Sea Gulls missed their next attempt, as the Eagles missed their next two attempts as well. Anderson made her penalty shot giving Salisbury a 1-0 lead, but Leah Roth tied it up for the Eagles.
Luc missed her penalty attempt followed by a make from freshman Marisa Madaras to give Mary Washington a 2-1 lead. A make from senior Christine Clark tied it up for the Sea Gulls, but Higgins made the final shootout attempt to advance her team in the playoffs.
SU Head Coach Kwame Lloyd said his team played and moved the ball well, utilizing their strengths.
“When you’re hitting the post and you’re doing different things it doesn’t work out for you,” Lloyd said. “There wasn’t lack of effort or lack of execution. It was just things didn’t go our way and it’s tough. Only one team in the country finishes not disappointed.”
The Eagles outshot Salisbury seven to five as the Sea Gulls had three more corner kicks than Mary Washington.
Both teams had serious injuries on the field for them. A Mary Washington player was carried off the field which looked like to be a leg or foot injury, and for Salisbury senior Tabitha Brown went down two minutes before the second half ended, which appeared to be a leg injury as well.
Neither returned to finish off the match.
Lloyd said he felt different emotions during this game, but mostly felt one emotion.
“It’s sadness for my kids,” he said. “They deserved to move on and they’re a quality squad. It’s more sadness than anything else.”
Mary Washington moves on to play ranked number one Christopher Newport University on Tuesday for a semifinal conference playoff match.
For the Sea Gulls, their season has ended in what could be called a déjà vu match. They lost last season in the CAC semifinals to the Eagles, 2-1.